Is there a nurse in the house?

Written by Theresa Campbell

Labor bureau projects more than 1 million job openings nationwide by 2024.

Nurses remain in high demand. Hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities offer lucrative pay and sign-on bonuses, and these offers are bound to continue, according to a local college administrator.

“We receive calls daily for recruitment of our students,” says Kathy Perfumo, coordinator for the health science department at Lake Technical College. “The good news is, they are getting jobs and actively being recruited.”

Some 75 students are enrolled in the licensed practical nursing (LPN) program at Lake Tech (a 1,350-hour program that takes more than 12 months to complete), and Kathy says her school has a close relationship with Lake-Sumter State College in encouraging students to further their studies to become registered nurses (RN).

“Nationally, there is a nursing shortage that is expected to grow dramatically for a multitude of reasons. The biggest reason is as baby boomers retire, the population of the elderly grows as does the need to provide them with medical care,” Kathy says. “At the same time, a large number of nurses are boomers, so retirement is escalating with our nurses.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the RN workforce will have 1.09 million openings by 2024 due to growth and replacement of retiring nurses.

“The RN shortage will be most intense in the South and West,” states an American Journal of Medical Quality 2012 report.

Kathy says a shortage in this region is understandable. “Florida is a very desirable location among the elderly for retirement,” she says, adding snowbirds come to this area to spend winters away from the cold up north.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the RN workforce will have 1.09 million openings by 2024 due to growth and replacement of retiring nurses.

As a hospital nurse for more than 40 years, Kathy is now committed to her work at Lake Tech. The college has three primary LPN instructors and six adjunct instructors.

“We have a 90 percent completion rate, and we are above the national average with our pass and our completion rate,” Kathy says. “When we train students, we train them to be great nurses and we prepare them to take their state licensure exams. However, we don’t complete a student who is not ready.”

Some students leave the program due to health reasons, family obligations, or maternity leave.

“We do a lot of work to keep our students in school, and we have a student success counselor who will meet with students if they need help with study habits or help with test-taking skills,” Kathy says.

“Nursing can be very hard work and it can also be very rewarding,” she adds. “We really need to nurture our nurses and not get into the cycle of not enough nurses, stretch them too thin with stress (so) that they leave. We need to keep feeding the profession with new nurses so that everyone can have a nice quality of life.”

About the author

Theresa Campbell

Originally from Anderson, Ind., Theresa worked for The Herald-Bulletin for many years. After experiencing a winter with 53 inches of snow, her late husband asked her to get a job in Florida, and they headed south. Well known in the area, Theresa worked with The Daily Sun and The Daily Commercial prior to joining Akers.
“I finally have my dream job. I’ve wanted to work for a magazine since I was a teenager, and I’m very excited to be here,” Theresa says. “There is such positive energy at Akers that it’s infectious.”
Theresa has three grown daughters—Julia lives in San Francisco, Emily is in Austin, Tex., and Maria is at the University of Central Florida.

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